The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, February 26, 2010

Girlfriends' Guide: FAT Is The New 'N' Word

Shame (pain) works to change behavior if there is a clear and open path toward the positive behavior (pleasure). But for the obese, we don't have that kind of clear, intelligent support. There is a fantastic amount of misinformation or outright lies about the war going on in our bodies. The evolutionary answer--that we simply didn't evolve to live in a world with a McDonald's on every corner--is probably closest to the truth. Unless there was real consensus on:

1) How best to eat (how much, how often, what kind?)

2) How best to exercise (how much, how often?)

3) How to deal with the negative emotions "locked" in the fat. Losing weight, for many people, equals fear, discomfort, a sense of exposure and loneliness. This isn't a joke, and it isn't an hallucination.


Part of the problem is that many of those creating the weight loss programs have their own emotional issues--which simply manifest in different ways. This is like alcoholics designing anti-drug campaigns. We don't get honest discussion, we get finger pointing, as if any of us were perfect. That is not useful.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost


Scott said...

I think the economic argument is at least as strong as the evolutionary one: food is getting cheaper and more delicious every year; what did you think would happen?

Ethiopian_Infidel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ethiopian_Infidel said...

Yet another economic argument supplements biological evolution in explaining America's obesity epidemic. The most caloric, lowest quality foods are also the cheapest! Further, given the near-sedentary nature of most jobs, including so-called manual labor (how many US gigs are TRULY back-breaking?), most substantial exertion's recreational. In the bizarre world wrought by mechanization, the affluent can afford the highest quality low-cal nourishment and the most exacting recreational exercise, whereas the indigent must subsist on poor quality, high energy food and endure the hardships of sedentary living.

Our perpetually half-staved hunter gatherer ancestors would die laughing if they could glimpse the biologically loony world of 21st Century America. Those hordes of obese bellies constitute a real embarrassment of riches.

Steven Barnes said...

Looking at it this way makes plenty of sense to me. That makes it easy to understand those first 30 pounds. After that, it is more and more tempting to suspect that there are seriously blocked emotions involved.

Anonymous said...

"3) How to deal with the negative emotions "locked" in the fat. Losing weight, for many people, equals fear, discomfort, a sense of exposure and loneliness. This isn't a joke, and it isn't an hallucination."

That's especially true when you're a woman with poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which can stunt breast growth relative to the rest of the body (for example, having breasts as small as Kate Moss's *and* having thighs thicker than hers).

Already being unable to fill an A-cup bra and having your body burn the rest of your breast fat off (leaving your chest as flat as your father's) before it burns a noticeable amount of fat on your belly can be pretty disturbing for someone with a female body who's a woman instead of a transsexual man. Having that happen when the same PCOS that stunts your your breast growth also provokes even more acne and sweating and beard and moustache growth than is typical for women of your ethnicity is even more disturbing. Losing *that* weight, the last breast weight you had left to lose, for some of us equals fear of even more bullying than we already experienced for not looking female "enough", discomfort, a sense of exposure to transphobia and loneliness when other people think you're too ugly to even be a friend or employee (judging someone else's body makes sense when you're judging whether or not you want his or her body to have intimate contact with your own, but not for so much other stuff...).

You're right, this is no joke